An outdoor pool for Olympic

Fernando MG

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Aug 8, 2018
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Good afternoon!!
Today I wanted to ask you a curious question: imagine Olympic (for any reason) had survived until, say, the end of WW2, and somewhere in the 60s she is drydocked and refitted. One of the new additions to the liner could be an outdoor pool (like Cunard did with RMS Queen Elizabeth). But the problem I have found with this hypothetic situation is that, to build it on deck, shipyard workers would need to remove lounges or cabin areas to use the space for the pool. And here comes the question: Where would you locate the pool?
Thank you for your answers!!:):)
 

Seumas

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The water would be rust coloured and would soon begin leaking through through the deck considering the state the Olympic would have been in had they been crazy enough to keep her going on and and on.

Cunard-White Star ultimately made the correct to decision scrap her along with the Mauritania and the Berengaria when they did.
 
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As Captain Dave is fond of saying: History does not reveal it's alternatives. That said, to put in a pool would have required some major structural modifications as well as a loss of some revenue earning space better used for something else. I don't see it happening, but if it had, the most logical place would be somewhere in the after part of the superstructure, and displacing a nice chunk of the 2cnd Class Smoke Room.
 

Mark Baber

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Mark Chirnside's wonderful "The Big Four of the White Star Line" has a photo on page 177 of a deck swimming pool on Adriatic in 1934.
 

Scott Mills

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The water would be rust coloured and would soon begin leaking through through the deck considering the state the Olympic would have been in had they been crazy enough to keep her going on and and on.

Cunard-White Star ultimately made the correct to decision scrap her along with the Mauritania and the Berengaria when they did.
I do not know if it was the 'right' decision. Part of me is at odds with the socio-economic structure that, both then and now, governs the world.

I guess what I am saying is that, knowing what Olympic represented in virtue of her own history, and her history as Titanic and Britannic's only surviving sister ship, the 'right thing' to me would have been to preserve Olympic as a museum ship.

Of course, the right thing to do is not necessarily a thing that is possible for someone to do. In the case of Cunard-White Star, from a business perspective, there really was no choice but to take all of White Star's ships out of service. The depression had really hit the shipping industry, and particularly the passenger shipping industry, very hard. To my knowledge none of White Star's vessels were making a profit, as most of them were older vessels that were very expensive to run, and the demand for passenger space was just not there--due to both the depression and changes in American immigration laws.

Not even Majestic, the closest thing White Star had to a profitable and popular ship at the time of the merger, survived.

Now that being said, most of Cunard's liners were not profitable at the time either; however, some of their older liners 'survived' the merger. Part of my brain gets a bit upset about that, because to some extent it is clear that Cunard--the controlling 'partner' in the merger--certainly demonstrated that they favored Cunard ships when it came time to deciding which vessels needed to be pulled from service.
 

Seumas

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Who would pay for this huge museum ship ?

Let's look at the bigger picture. Britain was in turmoil with mass unemployment, strikes, hunger marches and political violence taking place. War clouds were gathering in Europe and Asia and the native peoples of the British Empire were (quite rightly) beginning to agitate for freedom. Set against all this, no one had time for romantic nonsense like preserving the Olympic and Mauritania. Their time had come. The correct decision was made to scrap them.

They didn't quite get rid of all the White Star ships. Cunard were happy to welcome White Star's two (almost) new modern motor ships, Britannic and Georgic, to their fleet. And I think they kept the Laurentic as a reserve (?)

The most important thing of all was that the suffering, unemployed workers of Jarrow and Inverkeithing who were employed to break up the Olympic got money to pay their rents, put food on the table, pay the doctors bills etc. That matters a million times more than any sentimental reasons for keeping a huge liner as a tourist attraction.

Aquitania was a super hard as nails 'Bankie lass, that's why she lasted longer them all ;)
 
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Scott Mills

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Semus,

Don't let my quotes fool you, but I will leave it at this: I question the very socio-economic structure under which we live... again, then and now. How would I pay for the museum ship you ask me? Well, for starters I would dispense with the very socio-economic system where the the world, both the resources and the people in it, exist for exploitation so that wealth gravitates into the hands of the few.

Certainly, by the time of the depression, if I were in charge of the world the very system that put all of those men out of work such that scraping the only remaining Olympic class liner, and near identical sister of the most famous and remembered ship in the history of humanity was a great boon, would not have existed; and here, of course, we come up against the 'right thing' (as I see it anyway) and what was actually possible.

What I can tell you is that almost certainly from Cunard-White Star's perspective, literally no thought at all was given to the working class men and women who benefited from Olympic's scrapping. For Cunard-White Star it was a very pure costs benefits analysis, and Olympic was not making money, and would not be in the foreseeable future, and therefore had to go.

Still, as far as I can tell Aquitania was in very similar financial situation as Olympic was, yet Cunard-White Star preserved her until almost 1950. I feel like, even in 1935 someone at the shipping line could have decided to scrap Aquitania instead of Olympic bearing in mind what Olympic represented.

This would have provided the same benefit to the working men and women who scrapped Olympic and given Olympic until after the Second World War for someone to decide that she may be worth preserving as a museum.
 

Seumas

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We mustn't apply modern sensibilities to this. That's warping the issue.

To the British public in 1934, Olympic and Mauritania were ships that many knew about and maybe a few felt some pride about but ultimately scrapping them provoked little protest from the public at large. They understood they had had a good run and now must be scrapped.

The average man or women on the streets of Lancashire, County Durham, the Lothians, West Fife, Caerphilly or the Rhondda Valley (areas in England, Scotland and Wales which felt the depression hardest) in 1934 would have had some extremely choice language towards anyone wanting to waste tons of money in a utterly ridiuclous attempt to preserve Olympic or the Mauritania rather than fund work for others.

And regarding the Aquitania, it's worth remembering that in 1939 Cunard-White Star where actually about to withdraw her from service until it became clear that war was imminent and the government would want her. Had the war not broken out, then her service life would have been about the same as the Olympic's was.
 

Scott Mills

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Aren't these are arguments that can be used today in any case? Why save Queen Mary or the QE2 rather than giving the poor men and women in say, India, work by breaking them up? Why turn surviving warships into museum ships, when certainly work is to be had breaking them?

Then consider that, presently speaking, the breaking up of ships is like anything else in this world. The men and women who do the lion's share of the work see very little of the actual 'value' generated. It's the few who had the capital to buy the hull for whom breaking ships is really lucrative.

I guess what I am saying is that I am anti-capitalist, and that were I in charge of the world in 1935 the breaking up of Olympic would not have been necessary to keep the men and their families fed.

As for Aquitania, my only point is that she was just as old as Olympic or Majestic and was no more lucrative than either most likely. It is an example of how Cunard-White Star favored Cunard's ships when it came time to consolidate; and had Olympic made it until 1939, then I dare say that she too would have been spared the breakers for the sake of the war effort.

And if she had been spared the breakers in favor of service to king and country, and had survived the war, someone may, or may not, have had the notion to save her as a museum ship prior to her ultimate disposal in (assuming all variables are the same) 1949; however, like with so many things, we will never know.
 

Seumas

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I'd rather approach this from the immediate concerns of 1934/35 and the problems of the time.

Where were the people picketing the dockside demanding to save the ships ? The truth is that the public did not care. There were much bigger problems at hand and better things to spend taxpayers money on. Considering UK re-armament would soon start, some of the scrap metal probably went to good use.

Even if the creaking, rusting, ship in need of massive overhaul did survive the Second World War, establishing a huge museum ship in an almost bankrupt, post-war "austerity" Britain would have been the subject of much scorn and ridicule from an angry public.

The British government was certainly (and quite rightly) never going to pay for any such foolishness and the handful of out of touch, wealthy individuals in both the UK and the USA who wanted to preserve the Olympic and the Mauritania curiously don't seem to have been willing to put their hands in their own pockets to do so.

Admiral Beatty's old flagship, the battlecruiser HMS Lion, is the only ship I'm aware of from the inter war period that some of the British public wanted to save.

Considering the jaw dropping and forever escalating costs of keeping the already half gutted and altered Queen Mary afloat and functioning, I think I'd rather see her become an artificial reef if I'm perfectly honest with you there.

It's better to remember them as they were in my opinion.
 
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Scott Mills

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All I will say is that it was not the British government that kept Queen Mary from being scrapped, Queen Elizabeth from almost not being scrapped, or QE2 from being scrapped. Similarly it is not the United States government that has kept the SS United States from the scrapyard either--though she has come close a number of times.

It was also not the British government that sold Olympic for scrap, nor decided to keep Aquitania over Olympic, nor profited from the actual scrapping itself.

So it is rather misleading to suggest that it would have been up to the government as to whether or not a retired ocean liner was sent to the scrap yard, or sailed to Long Beach on the West Coast of the United States and preserved there as both a hotel and a museum--for instance.

It's also not really the case that people were picketing to save any of those ships, except SS United States, and then we are talking a very small group of people.

At the end of the day, all I am really saying, is that if any ocean liner in the history of ocean liners deserved to be preserved it was Olympic. Just from an historical perspective, she is far more important than any of the ships I listed. And this takes me back to my original post.

Its not that I do not understand the economics behind the scrapping of Olympic. This is precisely what I mean when I say that, the 40,000 feet 'right thing to do,' in my mind anyway, would be to have saved her; however, sometimes doing the right thing is impossible.
 
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Seumas

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With regard to who would pay for the cost of preservation well, if it wouldn't be the British Government then who else would pay for this extremely expensive upkeep as a museum ships ? There was no wealthy individual or group of individuals were willing to put their hand in their pocket and pay for such a thing.

It may be sacrilege to say on this board but here goes. Personally I don't think past their prime ocean liners aren't really things that are worth saving in the long term. The Queen Mary's present condition is depressing and they can't keep funneling money into her forever. I fear the Queen Elizabeth II will end up the same. Scuttle them with dignity I say.
 
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